Hunt backs protection for Christians worldwide

Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels’ Alarm over China’s Church crackdown Pope decries killing of Christians It said the Foreign Office should identify the “particular character” of discrimination against Christians, alongside “similar definitions for other religions”. Boris Johnson, Mr Hunt’s rival in the Conservative leadership race, also signalled his backing for the report. Image Copyright @BorisJohnson @BorisJohnson Mr Hunt said he thought officials should clearly call out specific anti-Christian hatred using the term ‘Christophobia’. “We need to recognise that there is a specific Christian-related issue that goes beyond the championing of freedom of religious belief,” he added. The bishop’s report estimated estimated that one in three people suffer from religious persecution, with Christians the most persecuted religious group. ‘Not about …

Bid to make no deal more difficult scrapes through

He tweeted that it “makes it much harder for incoming prime minister to suspend Parliament”. Not selected The UK had been due to leave the EU on 29 March, but this date was delayed after MPs repeatedly rejected Theresa May’s deal. Currently, the date for exit is 31 October. If that date is reached without a deal being agreed on the separation process, then the UK will leave without one. MPs have consistently voted against this option, but the prime minister could try to get around that by closing Parliament – proroguing – in the run-up to Brexit day, denying them an opportunity to block it. Why there’s more to the Northern Ireland bill Can the new prime minister force …

‘Inconsistency’ around blue badges ‘needs to end’

A spokesperson from the Welsh Government said: “We welcome this review and the opportunity to give evidence. We will consider the findings and respond in due course.” ‘No real information’ Tina Sharp, from Knighton in Powys, who contributed to the committee’s inquiry, said it was “really difficult” for people to apply for blue badges. The 55-year-old has used a wheelchair for the past 15 years as she has Arnold-Chiari malformation which affects brain and spinal cord development. She also had to apply for a blue badge for her father because he “wouldn’t have known where to start” which would have left him “house-bound”. Ms Sharp said many people use libraries to seek help to make their application, but 10 libraries …

Why are the UK and China arguing about Hong Kong?

Demonstrators argue it threatens Hong Kong’s autonomy (its right to rule itself) and undermines its independent legal system. They fear China could use it for political reasons. In 1984, then prime minister Margaret Thatcher signed the Joint Declaration with the Chinese government. In it the two countries agreed that Hong Kong would be handed back to China in 1997, on a number of conditions. These included the region’s high level of autonomy and maintaining certain rights not granted in mainland China. It was also agreed that Hong Kong’s capitalist system, which was different to China’s communist model, would continue. The agreement would be in place for the following 50 years – that’s until 2047. Related Topics Hong Kong extradition protests …

The children of the devolution look to the future

Image copyright Anne Macphail Image caption Places like Stranraer can still feel a long way from the seat of power Forty years after I left here, what you might call peripheral Scotland still feels a long way from the centre political power. The birth of the Scottish Parliament doesn’t seem to have done much to narrow the perceived gap. James Mitchell, professor of politics at Edinburgh University, says: “The same argument that was always applied for having a Scottish Parliament – that Scotland was distinct and different – equally applies at the local level. “The local authorities and communities are diverse with different interests, different priorities. “We stand out in comparative European terms as one of the most centralised places …

How pop divas dominated Glastonbury’s last day

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionChristine and the Queens on equality in music The Cure might have been headlining the Pyramid Stage, but Glastonbury’s final day was all about envelope-pushing pop divas. Billie Eilish, Janelle Monae and Christine And The Queens played across the site, bringing with them messages of liberation, empowerment and acceptance. Monae, who headlined the West Holts stage, delivered a potent mix of sex and politics, encouraging the crowd to embrace their sexuality by declaring: “Say it loud, I’m dirty and proud”. A field away, Christine and the Queens’ Heloise Letissier was also preaching tolerance, pronouncing the Other Stage “a safe space – because if there’s no judgment, then anything can happen”. Both artists …

Tunnel blow to 2.8bn electrification scheme

The 133-year-old tunnel between south Wales and England has its own pumping station which brings out an estimated 14 million gallons of water (64 million litres) a day to prevent it being flooded by an underwater spring. Faster service plan between Cardiff and London Train named after sporting legends ‘Teething problems’ for new GWR train Network Rail has conceded it is a “very challenging operating environment to run 25 kilovolts of electric through” but insist journeys will not be affected because the new multi-million trains that serve the route are diesel and electric hybrids. Trains travelling into and out of the tunnel will be powered by the overhead wires but they will switch to diesel to travel under the Bristol …

How does ‘climate emergency’ affect us?

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Will consumers turn their back on international imports to save energy? Half of China’s emissions are from factories making goods for customers in the West, according to the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth. “We don’t want to import [things] from China, we want to make them in Wales,” said Paul Allen, director of the Zero Carbon Britain research centre at CAT. Image caption Greenstream Flooring “upcycles” carpets, and boss Ellen Potts is optimistic about future opportunities If we buy less stuff, and “reduce, reuse and recycle” it would inevitably affect businesses and jobs. They might need to be innovative and use new materials or perhaps change their own products. This would have …

Brexit Party ‘at risk’ of illegal donations

Amounts below that do not have to be declared, but some critics – among them ex-PM Gordon Brown – have said there is no way of telling whether those smaller amounts come from British or foreign sources, and therefore the system may be being abused. How are political parties funded? The Brexit Party topped the polls at last month’s European elections. During the campaign, it said donations of £25 or less had accounted for 90% of its total funding. It raised more than £2m from small donors, thousands of whom paid £25 each to become registered supporters. But Mr Brown suggested the party was getting round the declaration rules by accepting multiple “untraceable” donations directly online. Political parties have 30 …

Tory leader candidates clash over Brexit

Jeremy Hunt, another leadership contender, said the EU would be “willing to negotiate” on the Brexit deal if the UK takes the “right approach”. Speaking on Sky News on Sunday, the foreign secretary said he had spoken with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and suggested she was open to looking at new solutions for the Irish border issue in talks. “She said that […] with a new British prime minister, we would want to look at any solutions you have,” he added. Brexit: All you need to know Where do Conservative leadership candidates stand on Brexit? What’s the plan for a no-deal Brexit? Gove: ‘I was lucky to avoid jail’ Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionEsther McVey defended …

What happened with Lorraine and Esther McVey?

Kelly curtly replied: “Yep. Yes I do. Right, coming up after half past eight…” That set tongues wagging on social media, with many picking up on the fact that Kelly had implied she had nothing nice to say about her memories of working with McVey. McVey was asked about her relationship with Kelly later in the day. “We used to share a dressing room,” she explained during a Q&A session at her campaign launch. “And she used to be on the programme afterwards, and obviously she used to be partnered with Eamonn Holmes. And then I was promoted to be partnering with Eamonn Holmes. “But she’s great and it was a great show, and I can’t believe it was 20 …

Labour seeks to block no-deal Brexit

Skip Twitter post by @michaelgove While I would prefer to leave the EU with a better deal, we must not rule out no deal. If ultimately it came to a choice between no deal and no Brexit, I would choose no deal. Labour’s plans to seize control of the business of the Commons must be resisted. #ReadytoLead — Michael Gove (@michaelgove) June 11, 2019 For other candidates, including Rory Stewart and Mark Harper, the prospect of leaving without a deal is unacceptable. However, neither man appears prepared to back the opposition motion. Mr Harper said his “instinct” was to oppose it while Mr Stewart – despite saying he was “wholly supportive” of the idea at his campaign launch in London …

Blanket free TV licence for over-75s scrapped

The number of households which could be eligible to apply for pension credit could number 1.5 million by 2020. The BBC Board said it was the “fairest option to help the poorest pensioners”. BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said it had been a “very difficult decision”. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionDavid Clementi on the BBC’s decision to scrap blanket free licences for over 75s “We think it’s fair to those over 75 but also to all our audiences for whom there was no appetite for the level of cuts that would have been necessary if the concession had been extended,” he added. “There are people for whom this will be unwelcome news, who have not paid …

Tory leadership hopefuls vie for spotlight

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionA Michael Gove-led government would take “back control of our money, our borders, and our laws”. The race to replace Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and prime minister is officially under way, with contenders setting out their pitches. Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and Matt Hancock outlined their plans at campaign launches on Monday. It comes as two cabinet ministers – Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt and Remainer Amber Rudd – announced their backing for Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt. Tory MPs have until 17:00 BST to enter the leadership contest. Mrs May officially stepped down as the leader of the Conservative Party last week, but will remain as prime minister until her …

How Phil Mitchell ended up on Time cover

Cold War Steve, whose real name is Christopher Spencer, tells BBC News he was shopping in his local Asda in Birmingham when the “incredible” email offer came through last week. “I was in the condiment section and saw it was from Time magazine in New York and I was like, ‘bloody hell! This is it… break the States!’” he says. “As with Brexit, America and the Trump administration is such a rich seam for my kind of work and we were thinking how on earth would we take this British brand of satire and humour to America?” Image copyright Cold War Steve/Time Image caption Bungle can be seen selling tea and chips next to Phil Mitchell Follow us on Facebook, …

How the Brexit timetable could unfold

EU leaders are due to review progress on Brexit at a regular summit on 20 to 21 June. But by that time they will not even know who is going to be in charge after Theresa May leaves No 10. Holidays and party conferences August of course is holiday time, particularly in the EU, when very little business gets done in Brussels, and the chances of the UK having meaningful talks about Brexit with other governments or the EU institutions are limited. So that already takes us to the beginning of September, only two months before the Brexit extension comes to an end. And in the second half of September, the UK Parliament is once again in recess, as political …